Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) has been confronted with fresh allegations of corruption after German news magazine Spiegel and French disclosure platform Mediapart published internal documents suggesting the European aircraft manufacturer had bribed its way to contracts in Egypt in 2003 and 2006.

The first instance focuses on an April 2003 order with EgyptAir (MS, Cairo Int'l) for seven A330-200s while the other focuses on a 2006 deal involving the sale of four A320-200s to another EgyptAir-affiliated carrier, Air Cairo (SM, Cairo Int'l).

According to the report, Airbus allegedly recruited Lebanese firm Samit International to "arrange meetings between the company's representatives and high-level government representatives" from Egypt, to organize negotiations for the sale of the seven A330 aircraft, and assist Airbus with the sale of A320s. Samit's compensation was pegged at 1.5% of all proceeds.

In 2006, Airbus again recruited Samit for another contract with the Egyptians. This time, the mandate encompassed the sale of various models, including four A320-200s to Air Cairo. Airbus mandated Samit, the documents said, to "maintain all conditions for a political environment favourable to the Company's Products."

According to the documents, between 2003 and 2008, Samit submitted invoices to Airbus for over EUR10 million euros, which Airbus was supposed to transfer to one of Samit's accounts in Lebanon. Deposits started in 2005 with a total of 13 having been made. The funds were then forwarded onto other third-parties six of which received substantial tranches of cash.

Prosecutors in France have been in possession of the documents since summer 2017 and have already begun their investigations.

Neither the investigators nor Airbus chose to comment on the allegations.

Airbus is currently being investigated in several countries for deals conducted under suspicious circumstances. In 2018, it agreed to pay USD99 million to settle a German investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the purchase by Austria of 18, then later reduced to 15, Eurofighters.